The Whip


Non-Fiction - Historical
302 Pages
Reviewed on 01/22/2014
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Author Biography

Karen Kondazian was born in Boston, MA. Her debut novel The Whip, received five awards in 2013, including the USA News Best Book Award for Historical Fiction and the Int'l Book Award for Best Western. She is also the author of the best-selling book, The Actors Encyclopedia of Casting Directors.

Kondazian was a journalist and is an award winning theater actress who began her acting career at the age of eight, as one of the infamous children on Art Linkletter’s, Children Say the Darnest Things. She completed her schooling at San Francisco State College, The University of Vienna and The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts.

Onstage, Kondazian has distinguished herself portraying the women of Tennessee Williams, winning the LA Drama Critics Circle Award for her performance in The Rose Tattoo. After seeing her performance, Tennessee Williams and Kondazian became friends and he gave her carte blanche to produce any of his plays in his lifetime. She then starred opposite Ed Harris in Sweet Bird of Youth and also won the LA Ovation Award playing Maria Callas in Master Class. She has also appeared as a series regular lead in CBS’s Shannon and guest starred in over 50 television shows and films - including, starring opposite James Franco in TNT’s James Dean, and playing Kate Holliday in the award-winning anthology series, Showdown at O.K. Corral.

Kondazian is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio, a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and Women In Film.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Kayti Nika Raet for Readers' Favorite

The Whip by Karen Kondazian is a Western inspired by the true story of Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst, an extraordinary woman who lived most of her life in the west as a man. In The Whip, Charley sets out West seeking revenge after falling in love with a runaway slave, then losing him and their family in a horrible way. Dressed as a man she's determined to track down the killer. Once out West, she becomes a stagecoach driver, “Whips”, and along the way to her revenge she kills a famous outlaw, becomes the first woman to vote, and has her housekeeper, unaware that she's a woman, fall in love with her. An extraordinary tale worthy of a movie, The Whip by Karen Kondazian is steeped in historical drama, action, and wonder.

Charley Parkhurst makes for a compelling main character, and especially since The Whip is inspired by a true story, it makes for a very compelling read. It was also very well researched (I loved all the historical tid-bits about piano legs, cat-hauling, and the stagecoach business itself), and Kondazian's novel unfolds cinematically; you can almost feel the sun's rays and smell the horse sweat. While the West has always provided a deep well of creative content, it is always the lesser known, but no less interesting stories that provide the most satisfaction. The Whip by Karen Kondazian is a truly fascinating novel of one woman's determination and grit in the heart of the Old West.